California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger weighed into the same-sex marriage legal battle Friday, filing a motion demanding gays and lesbians be allowed to resume tying the knot immediately.
Schwarzenegger’s legal bid came as a federal judge who overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage mulled a request by supporters of the ban to bar further homosexual weddings until the appeals process had been exhausted.
“The Administration believes the public interest is best served by permitting the Court’s judgement to go into effect, thereby restoring the right of same-sex couples to marry in California,” Schwarzenegger’s motion said.
“Doing so is consistent with California’s long history of treating all people and their relationships with equal dignity and respect.
“As the Court has pointed out, California has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples without suffering any resulting harm.”
It was not immediately clear when Judge Vaughn Walker would rule on when same-sex weddings would resume, having initially indicated that a decision could be made on Friday.
In a landmark ruling on on Wednesday, Walker found in favor of activists who argued that the California referendum which barred gays and lesbians from tying the knot was discriminatory and therefore violated the US Constitution.
The referendum, known as Proposition 8, was passed by a 52 percent majority in November 2008, only six months after California’s Supreme Court overturned a previous ban on same-sex weddings, sending gays and lesbians flocking to marry.
Legal experts believe the case is almost certain to end up before the US Supreme Court in around two years time, once appeals hearings in lower courts have run their course.
In his opinion released on Wednesday, Walker ruled that Proposition 8 failed to “advance any rational basis” to deny gay men and lesbians marriage licenses.
“Indeed the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples,” Walker wrote.
“Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligations to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.”